Through preventative steps and safe choices by drivers and passengers in motor vehicles, the vast majority of holiday crashes can be prevented.

Citizens across Louisiana will be enjoying the holiday festivities very soon, and Louisiana State Police would like to remind everyone of a few simple things to do in order to keep you safe.

As we begin the countdown to 2020, celebrations across the state will increase traffic on our highways. The task of reducing crashes and preventing a holiday tragedy is the responsibility of both law enforcement and the public.

Through preventative steps and safe choices by drivers and passengers in motor vehicles, the vast majority of holiday crashes can be prevented. Throughout this upcoming holiday period, troopers will partner with law enforcement across the state to conduct proactive enforcement in support of the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.

By understanding the following safety guidelines below, motorists can greatly reduce their chances of being involved in a serious injury or fatality crash"

Designate a sober driver.

--Thousands of people are seriously injured or killed due to impaired driving each year. Never get behind the wheel impaired or get in a vehicle with a driver who is impaired.

--Alcohol, prescription drugs, and other drugs have many effects on the body. They can impair visual ability, alter sense of time and space, impair fine motor skills needed to operate a motor vehicle, and decrease reaction times.

--Designate a sober driver before traveling to any place. A designated driver is one who has had nothing alcoholic to drink and is also not under the influence of legal or illegal drugs.

--Plan ahead. Call a taxi, ride-sharing service, or a trusted person for a ride or just stay at your location.

Buckle-up.

--Louisiana law requires every person in a vehicle, regardless of seating position, to be properly restrained, day or night.

--Troopers urge all drivers and passengers in motor vehicles to understand that failure to buckle up can quickly become a tragic and fatal decision.

--Statistics show that the chances of surviving a violent crash rise significantly when properly restrained.

Child passenger restraints.

--Louisiana law requires all children to be properly restrained. To review the current law, in both English and Spanish, please visit:

http://www.lahighwaysafety.org/Documents/CHILDPASSEnger/CPS%20Laws%20Eng%20Span.pdf.

--If your travel plans take you out of our state, please visit www.saferide4kids.com for a list of current child passenger restraint laws by state. Every Louisiana State Police Troop is recognized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a child safety seat "Inspection Station." Please take advantage of these free services to ensure the safety of your child.

Distractions.

--Inattentive and distracted drivers account for a large number of serious crashes across the state every year. You can effectively reduce the chances of being involved in a crash by remaining focused on the task of driving while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

--There are three primary types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions are those that take your eyes off the road, such as checking your GPS or navigation system or searching for lost items on the floor of the vehicle. Manual distractions are those that take your hands off the wheel, such as texting, eating, drinking, or locating items in a purse. Cognitive distractions are those that take the driver's focus away from driving, such as talking with passengers, singing songs, listening to podcasts, or dealing with emotional or work stress.

Pedestrians or bicyclists.

--If you travel on foot or bicycle, wear bright clothing and remain aware of traffic on the roadway. Use proper lighting at night.

Motorcyclists.

--Motorcyclists must wear a proper D.O.T. approved helmet when operating a motorcycle on Louisiana roadways. Although not all crashes are survivable, properly utilizing safety equipment, like approved motorcycle helmets and proper clothing, greatly decrease your risk of serious injury or death.

For the latest road condition information, including closures and construction, visit www.511la.org or dial 511 from any cellular phone in Louisiana. A Louisiana 511 phone app is also available for download. Motorists can sign up for Twitter traffic alerts from DOTD, as well as stay up to date with important information from the Louisiana State Police Facebook and Twitter pages.

Motorists that witness hazardous road conditions and/or reckless drivers are encouraged to call *LSP (*577) and report that activity to the nearest Louisiana State Police Troop location.

Contributed by Louisiana State Police